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Agility is Fun

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Agility is Fun

And it can be funny, too!

Have you got a good agility story to share. Make us smile. Here are some funny tales to start you off.

The Garden Party

As a Rosarian as well as a new person to agility, I had taken my two dogs along with their X-pen with me to go and do some volunteer pruning alone in the city rose garden. As I was pruning, some women arriving at the nearby picnic tables recognized me. There's nothing nicer than getting caught red-handed doing a good deed. They called me over and invited me to join them for the Garden Club picnic that was about to get underway. There were about 25 members that were bringing pot luck items and setting them on a couple of picnic tables they'd covered with tablecloths... In making conversation, I remarked that Buttons, Blondie and I were learning agility the past several months. I decided to give the ladies a little treat - an agility demonstration using what impromptu agility equipment was at hand, an unused picnic table off to the side of the gathering.

Getting Blondie, a 9" 14-month old toy poodle, I set her down on the grass and said in a clear voice, 'Up. Jump, walk-walk-walk', pointing at the vacant table to be used as a dog-walk. Only I didn't see her get up there. I turned around to look for her, and found Blondie proudly and happily walking as fast as she could across the table, between the potato salads, bowls of strawberries, over the table cloths of the tables of the Garden Club members who were in the process of serving...
Linda Renfer (USA) - Held captive by two toy poodles. Ransom note to follow

The Derby Twister: A Strange but True Tale!

Derbyshire's 1999 agility show on the 31st July and 1st August basked in temperatures rarely seen in the UK when the thermometer touched 85 degrees (F) on Saturday and peeked at 90 degrees (F) on Sunday, although more freak weather conditions were to come before the end of the show.

On Sunday afternoon at about 2.00 pm a piece of agility history was made when the showground was hit by a tornado, this time, the weather kind rather than the Jo Rhodes and Kelbie kind. Approaching across the nearby A38 the funnel of wind which was already carrying a pile of debris, grass and paper decided to lift a garden umbrella out of it's stand and carry it some 60 feet into the air. Clearly the tornado was reaping a vengeance on the owner who was just taking an afternoon rest after working hard the previous day on a ring party.

The umbrella was twirled some 350 feet through the show ground although some first reactions from the competitors were more concerned with the stupidity of someone flying a kite over the rings at an agility show, rather than the potential danger it presented to all the handlers and dogs. After the umbrella landed briefly in Rings 3 and 2 it finally came to rest in Ring 1 judged by Keith Brookes who managed to stop a dog and competitor running to judge the umbrella. After clearing several jumps the umbrella unfortunately missed a contact point incurring 5 faults and knocked down a couple of jumps for a total of 15 faults, which proved to be quite a lot better than some handlers on such a hot day.

The tornado then proceeded past the secretary's tent, missing it only by inches probably because the secretary had taken out insurance for such an occasion, and hit a transit van next door, partly ripping a tarpaulin from the roof and scaring the hell out of the dogs inside. It then moved through the club camping area battering several caravans and cars in it's path before leaving the show ground for a residential area, never to be seen again. After retrieving his umbrella intact the owner John Gilbert admitted to seeing it flying through the air and noticing that "it looked familiar and very like his own". Thankfully John didn't get caught up in the tornado with his umbrella to give everyone his own rendition of Mary Poppins!

After a very short and impromptu DDAC committee meeting, Tornado Annabelle was named and the Derbyshire Show became the first agility show in the UK to be hit by a twister and survive with no damage. Needless to say when everyone had gone home at 6 o'clock on Sunday night British weather returned, the heavens opened and torrential rain hit the showground providing welcome relief for the dogs and those remaining behind to clear away.

At the end of the show the secretary was heard to say that she had booked lots of sunshine for the show but couldn't remember putting a cross in the boxes where it said 'Do you want a tornado or torrential rain?' Still, you can't remember everything when you're running a show, can you?
Andy Farrington (PR Officer - Derbyshire DAC)

Illustration: W.W. Denslow in The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Rand McNally & Co)

The Very Good Dog

In the run up to our show in 1998, I received a phone call from a gentleman from deepest Devon with one of those rich rolling accents. The conversation ran a bit like this:-

Competitor: I'm just filling in this here schedule and I'm not quite sure what classes my dog's eligible for, can you help me sort it out?

Show Secretary: Of course I can. Has your dog been to a show before?

Competitor: He has indeed. This will be his second show.

Show Secretary: Right, so how did you and your dog get on at the show?

Competitor: Oh, he's a very good dog, a very good dog indeed.

Show Secretary: Did you win anything?

Competitor: We did indeed my maid.

Show Secretary: (Taking a deep breath) Right, so if you tell me what you won, I'll be able to tell you what classes you can enter at our show.

Competitor:- Got you, well - we won a bottle of wine in the raffle.
Anni Telford

The Watford Agility Show: From the Perspective of a Damp Ring Manager

Lincolnsfield Playing Fields witnessed a kind of concentrated insanity on Saturday, 24 October 1998 as agility folk demonstrated exactly to what lengths they will go to pursue their sport of choice. We probably should have known after being an April weather casualty that the weather gods wouldn't let it go that easily.

Friday was okay. Just the odd shower. Sunday was great, but on the big day it rained, and it rained, and it rained. I thought we had thought of everything, but when putting together the list of vital show equipment no one thought hmmm...jumps, tents, ring ropes, rosettes, and oh, and don't forget the ark!

The show must go on
There was a stylish display of the latest in wet weather gear and much discussion of the merits of the waxed jacket versus more hi-tech fabrics. Now here was an event for Barbour to sponsor! It was notable how people's dress in the ring changed over the day. In the morning lots of soggy overcoats were dumped in our tent while their brave owners went out in their sweatshirts as per 'good practice'. By the afternoon no-one was foolish enough to try this stunt and success was measured by one's ability to run in lots of soaking wet overclothing. I didn't worry too much about treats in pockets - I would have been amazed if they had survived the soaking. My overcoat supply was converted to porridge within an hour of arrival and covered the schedule and other documents in there in a delightful coat of gunge.

In the Helter Skelter ring we saw some amazing displays of courage under spray, plus a few wet dogs in the queue trying to tunnel into the tent, having quite obviously had enough. Poor lambs! That's one thing I will say for the rain, it sorted out the dogs from the pups. The benefits of a forward working dog were very apparent in my ring as we feeble two-legged ones tried to stay upright in the mud. However, just in case some are feeling smug at this point, an enormous number of these decided to take the Number Two obstacle again and get eliminated while their handlers tried to get there in one piece.

A special mention here to my own ballistic Heinz 57, the lovely Oh Rosie!, for getting eliminated by doing Number One again instead of Number Two. I am reliably informed that this was unique, and was actually quite a difficult elimination to achieve under the circumstances.

The spray flying off the collapsible tunnel was quite spectacular. Not a few dogs changed their mind halfway down the canvas and went into reverse gear. Some were obviously just not having a good time in the mud and constant downpour, but most dogs still gave it 100%, which I think says a lot about how much dogs enjoy their agility. I don't think I will forget the poor dog which frantically circled on the table looking for a dry bit to jump off onto. By this time, it was surrounded by a sea of mud. The dog jumped off eventually, but I think if it could it would have closed its eyes and held its nose.

By the end of the day the dog's feet had disappeared into the mud up to their ankles (do dogs have ankles?) but the brave handlers and soggy dogs just kept coming. A lot of people left early, and this was probably quite a wise decision - they got out before cars started getting stuck - but many stuck it out to the bitter end. I have to give all credit (and more) to the army cadets here. They spent the afternoon pushing, pulling, and otherwise extracting mired vehicles from the field. I saw one overcommitted lad go down face first at one stage. Drivers of 4-wheel drive vehicles also proved worth their weight in gold.

Behind Every Cloud
I would like to congratulate Ian Stowers, the judge in my ring, for staying smiling to the end, and also his timekeeper. Both must have caught even more individual rain drops than I did. In fact, everyone working on the ring was a pleasure to work with and made the best of trying circumstances. Thank you to Reg and Audrey for getting us all into this. I know that organising something like this can be a thankless task and you did a great job. Well done to Alan Baxter, who eventually won the class, and thank you to all the competitors who cheerfully kept going. You all deserved medals for fortitude and a straitjacket for actually going through with it.

A cheering thought though - this was the last outdoor show this year. We can all look up at a roof with a sigh of relief for the rest of the season. To those weather gods up there - ha, ha, we did it anyway. We Watfordians don't give up easily.

The reason?
A. Too much courage
B. No brains

Answers on a postcard please.
The prize? - A bucket of rainwater collected on the day.

I had one final thought as we cleared up (getting a quart of equipment into a pint pot of trailers in the process), 'I wonder what the Council are going to say about that field?'
Stephanie King

Stylish rainwear by Country Mun. For a selection of good quality, British made doggie accessories, visit http://www.k9netuk.com/commercial/countrymun.

Never Run Your Wife's Dog

I don't know if this is a case for congratulations, commiserations or near divorce. On Sunday 15th August, the day of the Honiton show, my wife Fran is not feeling well so she stays at home with our son George. I take my dog Basil.

'Shall I take your dogs? I say.

'Yes,' says Fran. 'but don't do too well, will you?

Basil runs well but gets five faults. Fran's young dog Bo does very well but gets ten faults. Fran's Briar who runs constantly well but has never got higher than third ran brilliantly.

'I'll take the scribe sheets to the score tent,' I say taking a quick peep at Briar's time (as you do). 37.25 was that all? I thought. 'Never mind, she did run well.

I saw Angie Williams walking across to the rings later. She said, Well done! Brilliant round.'

'Thought she was quicker,'I said.

'32.25 was quick enough to be in the lead,' she said.

'What!?#'! I said, dashing over to the score tent.

She was right. I had misread the time and Briar was in the lead. What do I do? I know Fran said not to do too well but is winning Novice Agility doing well?'

Fran rings to find out how we are doing.

'OK.' I say.

How did Briar do?

'Had a good round in Novice Agility,' I said. 'Speak to you later when I find out where she came.

People keep saying, 'Have you told Fran yet?'

'No,' I say.

'Chicken,' they say.

Fran rings again (thought she was not well). 'How did Briar do?' she asks again.

Wellllll... she came First,'I said.

'Oh,' Fran said.

'I couldn't help it,' I said. 'It was Briar's fault. She ran too well!

I think I got away with it.

'Well, don't do it again!' Fran said.

P.S. Thank the lucky stars, Briar got five in jumping.

The moral of the story is... Never run your wife or partners dog or rather don't win. Divorce is a costly business.

Clive Hildersley
(Still married!)

Dog & Bone

Sherry Wargo's dogsI was reading e-mail from the Agility-L list when a message came in containing only the word HELP in the subject line, and the following signature:-
Renee Ward (Mpls, Minn)

So I replied to the message with:-
What do you need help with?

Receiving no reply, after several minutes I posted the following to the list:-
Please respond quickly.......do you need help? Does anyone on the list know Renee? Is there any possibility this is a request for MEDICAL help or other emergency?

Still no reply... So I sent a message to the AGILEDOGS list:-
Does anyone on this list know Renee Ward of Minneapolis, Minn? Please respond privately and quickly. Possible emergency.

And after a few minutes, another to AGILEDOGS:-
Renee posted a message to the Agility-L list a few minutes ago containing only the word HELP. I'm concerned she may need Medical or other emergency help but can't get any response from her. Does anyone know what to do?

Mary Jo Smirkey responded. She had done a search on Renee's name and came up with an address and telephone number. At that point nearly 30 minutes had gone by since the 'call for help' was posted, and I was getting a bit frantic so I called the Michigan State Police to see if they could help.

While I was on the phone with them, I was quite relieved to get the following message from Renee Ward:-
I am so sorry, I was writing to get subscribed to this net got a phone call and left the keyboard on the chair. When I came back into the room my nine month Border Collie pup was sitting on it. I didn't realize it had sent as it had disconnected.
Renee Ward (Mpls, Minn)

Happy ending so I sent the following message to both agility lists:-
OK, everybody, I just got a response from Renee. She had started a message and got a phone call, left the keyboard sitting on a chair. Her 'sily' BC pup Sabrina (Bri) sat on keyboard and apparently sent the message! LOL... I was on the phone to the state Police when her message came in!
Sherry Wargo


Subject: [AGILE] Renee Ward


Glad to see that people are alert to things like that. Thanks Sherry !!
Barbara Craig (USA)

My dog called 911 once. He knocked the phone off the hook and then put hit his paw on the phone a few times. I then put the phone back on the hook and when I did the phone rang and to my surprise it was 911 operator asking if everything was Ok since a 911 call had just been made from my house. Now only if he could do this on command in a real emergency...
Diane Lewis (USA)

A BC can write for help??!!?? Lordy....I want one of those! LOL,,I love it!!!! gg
Leslie Rush (USA)

Gee... think the BC can learn to read?? AHHH taking Agility yet another step further...
Diane Gregoire (USA)

I thought y'all would find this one amusing...

Good Ole Dad

Moxie on the seesawWe have two Borzois who are the Agility dogs. Moxie is coming along well, and Flame is to start soon. My folks think I'm a little weird about dogs (sound familiar). Although my Dad has built most of my equipment, they've never been to an Agility show. They say they'll come to one when Moxie actually competes!

Friday night after bowling, Mom, Dad, my DH (Dear Husband) and I were sitting at Whataburger drinkin' coffee, and Dad says to me eagerly, 'You know that Agility stuff you do?'

'Yes?' I said, thrilled that he was showing some animation about my obsession.

'Well, I just saw *just* the dog you should get if you're serious about that Agility.'

'Yeah? Really?'

'Uncle Robert's got one... real smart, real agile, real hyper. It's one of them there... wha'daya call 'em...' Moxie on the A-frame


'Border Collies.'


Even the laymen, for mercy's sake! Even the laymen!!! {VBG}
Donna-Lynn Musgrave & her Borzois (USA)

If you have any wildly funny agility stories or even ones which will just make us smile, send them to Agilitynet.

**Congratulations to Anni Telford, winner of the 2000 Fromm Family Nutrition contest for the funniest agility story.  A Fromm Family t-shirt plus a 3kg bag of food is on its way. And thanks to everyone for big smile.

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